Our conversation continues with Sarah Ilene on the deliberations of life, how our interactions have become less fluid, silently interrupted with little moments of mindful thought as we check ourselves in a society that judges all aspects of what we might have to say.
We currently find ourselves in unprecedented times, our trajectories, passions, lives radically changing. We wondered whether to put our collaboration on hold for a while and quickly realised that there was no better time than now to further our discussion, to maintain the connection, continuing as we started, in this virtual space.
Whether through a screen or in person, there is an inherent vulnerability when we converse with others. It forces us to decide which representation of ourselves we want to show the other person, to decide how we want to use our words and what thoughts we want to convey. It forces us to decide whether we want others to see us as we see ourselves or something different, to decide on whether we want to interact in a way that subtly shapes that person's opinion of us, or to be seen as who we truly are.
When someone makes the choice to reveal a part of themselves or share something about their life, they are opening the door to potential. For the listener, those words may be exactly what they needed to hear at that time and could very well change, or at least influence, their own path. And for the speaker, the possibility to be heard. Never a time was that more true than the one in which we are living right now.
Conversations, or perhaps more fittingly words, can be about finding common ground too. An intensely essential part of the human experience, feeling understood through conversation builds the sense of belonging and community that is vital for our wellbeing. To speak and have someone truly listen. To take that first step in making a connection. Some connections may only be for a brief moment, but are so powerful they only needed to be short. It is all of our interactions over our lifetime that help us to build, hone and challenge our personal belief systems, that shape who we are and how we find our place in the world and the people with which we belong, or those we want to learn from. The ability to have conversations is a unique aspect of being human for which we should be, and we know we are, incredibly grateful.
It is interesting to reflect on at this precise moment. The desire to connect is both stronger and more urgent. With the world shifting so dramatically over the last several months, our level of control over whether we choose to talk or not, as opposed to finding ourselves in the flow of conversation that the randomness of daily life provides, remains.
Might this mean our conversations are now less likely to be interrupted to become more fluid and authentic? Could this mean that in uncertain times we become more certain about what we want to say and that uncertainty with all its anxiety-inducing power might somehow lead us to clarity of our own thought? There is no straight answer, but to muse over these ideas considering our own unique situations might lead us to learn something about ourselves and others that we might never have before considered.